Wed, Jan 02, 2008
No Delivery Timeline To Tumultuous Country Given
Hmm... given the current turmoil in Pakistan, is this the best
time to be sending the tormented country MORE firepower? In any
case, on Monday the Pentagon awarded Lockheed Martin a $498.2
million contract to supply Pakistan with 18 F-16 fighters.
Reuters reports the deal includes 12 F-16C fighters, and six
F-16D two-seat trainers. Perhaps tellingly, no timeline on the
deliveries was announced.
The decision came as Pakistani officials mulled over whether to
continue with a January 8 presidential election, following the
assassination of former premier Benazir Bhutto, who was an
outspoken critic of President Pervez Musharraf. The election has
since been postponed to February 18.
Pakistan has received roughly $10 million in funds from the
United States since 2001, due to the country's perceived role as a
key ally in the War on Terror. The country also serves as a
strategic foothold for efforts against terrorists operating in
The sale may come under fire from US lawmakers. Last month,
Congress placed restrictions on the $300 million in military aid
given to Pakistan annually, stating $250 million of that sum must
be spent on projects directly tied to combating terrorism,
according to Agence-France Presse.
Lawmakers also said the remaining balance should be withheld
until the White House can offer proof Pakistan is moving towards
Given recent strife, and Musharraf's tenuous hold on power...
they probably shouldn't hold their breath on that.
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